DANIDA has this year entered into a ground-breaking partnership with Hifa as the sponsor of the festival’s diverse comedy programme comprising performances and workshops.
The Hifa 2014 DANIDA comedy programme features high-profile regional and international comedy practitioners including Carl Joshua Ncube, Daliso Chaponda, David Kibuuka, Ben Voss and Tats Nknzo.
“One in three girls in Zimbabwe experience sexual violence before they turn 18. And almost half of all women in Zimbabwe experience either physical or sexual violence at some point in time in their lives.
Addressing gender-based violence is, therefore, a key development priority and a human rights imperative.
“The engagement with Hifa is part of our renewed commitment and engagement towards Zimbabwe and its people as we respond to the challenge of gender-based violence in this country. We believe the programme provides an innovative platform for public diplomacy, debate, and engagement on this serious issue,” said the head of mission at the Royal Danish embassy office Erik Brøgger Rasmussen.
As part of its 2013 – 2016 overall development assistance programme to Zimbabwe, Denmark also funds a $5 million initiative that seeks to address gender-based violence through various interventions.
The programme’s objectives include empowering women and girls with knowledge of their rights, increasing awareness on gender-based violence, as well as providing access to services and protection against violence.
In a statement, Hifa said comedy had the power to make a contribution to the changing behaviours of and attitudes through satire, compelling social messages and commentary that challenges the status quo.
“The comedy programme is designed to engage with gender-based violence in a way that catalyses discussion, debate and motivates attitude change within the community. Comedy can be used to foster richer and more open conversations about social, political, economic and environmental challenges facing Zimbabweans, particularly gender-based violence,” said the statement.
The programme presents challenges posed by gender-based violence in a new light while making a contribution to the reduction of barriers between women and men in the economic, political and civic arenas.
It will also allow audiences to get fresh perspectives on society, find new ways of looking at issues, as well as themselves and one another.
According to the statement, all of the shows will be underpinned by each artiste’s unique perspective on the challenges, issues and opportunities facing Zimbabwe as a country, and Africa as a continent, particularly in relation to gender-based violence.
In order to build capacity while promoting cultural exchange and networking within the artistic community, the comedy programme will also host two workshops tomorrow and on Friday. The workshops will offer artistes an opportunity to exchange skills, learn new techniques and explore artistic responses to the challenges that gender-based violence presents to society.